Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Philosophy of Education

Interviewing again. I haven't actually been turned down for any jobs yet, which I guess is good. I almost feel like I'm in some sort of Olympic event, making the rounds among the judges and in the end, all of us will be parcelled out to our respective corners to grapple our way through another year of school. For some, the grappling will take on the look of a ballet or a beautifully performed opera. For others, it will look like a WWW smack-down. I think mine probably looks mostly like a ballet, except the prima donna's toe shoe is dangling from her left foot where, in her haste to be ready, she didn't get it secured just right. Nevertheless she twirls on with such vigor and grace that eventually, even the dangling shoe becomes part of the beauty of the piece; that is, for anyone with any sort of appreciation for ballet and a fondness for the ballerina it does. I guess to some folks, it still just looks like a crazy little girl in a tutu dancing around with her shoe coming off.

All this talking about and thinking about education is good. We used to do this all the time back in Granbury, ad infinitim, but I see more clearly now that such rethinking of your objectives and motives in teaching is valuable far more so than the alternative which is to keep doing the same thing every year just because we've always done it that way. I'm in a place now where this is the norm, and it's frustrating. The thing is - the education of our young people is a living breathing organism all its own. If we treat it like something static, we've lost the battle before we've even begun. Educators are the worst at BMWing (i'll clarify that in the comments if anyone needs to understand that acronym) about how messed up the parents are and how screwed up society is and how America has gone down the tubes. I admit to bouts of this sort of ranting myself. And while it's true that there are parents who are absolutely part of the problem not the solution as far as the education of their children, I can't change parents. I can only change what I'm doing. And I have to be honest and admit at times that what I'm doing needs to be changed.

There are certain aspects of education that do remain the same. Children have always been and will continue to be little human beings who, in given situations will react a given way. However, the landscape we teach them on has changed tremendously. This ever-changing landscape causes shifts in values that affect what we do in the classroom. And, I'm not talking at ALL about social issues like gay rights, abortion or sex-ed in the curriculum. I'm talking about things like cel phones, Ipods, video games, the Internet, fast food, and debit cards.

I got my first phone at the age of 16; it was connected with a cord to my room at home and I never knew who was calling until I picked it up and said hello. You practically had to have a court order to get any sort of "caller id" from the phone company.
MTV played music videos and that was all. Sometimes it was just music with a picture of the album on screen. I believe that the world I grew up in was full of more mystery and suspense. Voyeuristic behaviors were either very rude or outright criminal, not the norm for conducting daily business or the basis of over half the television I watched.

I like this quote from Gandhi:
"There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”

As an educator, it's my job to figure out what "bread" looks like to the kids I serve. I personally think it looks like someone taking the time to meet them where they are. The problem with some educators today is that they say they want to meet kids where they are, but they really mean that they want to meet kids where they expect them to be or where they "should" be according to the world as it was when they grew up. At the heart of the matter, what kids really need has never changed, but how we present them with what they need, so that they can accept it, has got to change.

Interviewing can be a pain, but it does cause me to stop and reflect about what I'm doing and why I do the things that I do. If I truly believe that all kids have worth and value, then I will treat them with dignity and respect. Even when they misbehave. I will honor them as human beings even when they don't deserve it. I will give and give even when I don't feel like it and even though there's no way I could ever be compensated enough for my troubles. It's what I want done for my own children as they find their way in the world. It's what I choose to keep doing for the children I teach.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008


I've been working like crazy lately to dig my way out from under a big ditch financially. It's finally caught up with me....living here and making (not kidding) just barely more in salary than I made as a first year teacher EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO in Texas.

I've put a permanent link to my little shop in my sidebar. Check it out. I've sold one custom-made dog, a blue-heeler. If you go to the shop you can see picture of him by clicking on the sold items link. A buyer in Alabama sent me pictures of him and I sculpted him from clay and painted him. I was so proud of him and so was she.

I've started getting calls for job interviews in the OKC area so things are looking up in that way. I'm hoping to secure a position by the end of May, then put things in storage and possibly live with my parents or an aunt and uncle in the city for the summer so that I can save some money. Getting a summer job wouldn't hurt either.

It's tough starting completely over at this age. *sigh* And yet, God is faithful and I remain blessed. Financially, moving to Oklahoma was a very stupid thing to do, but I am still confident that it was the right thing to do. Makes no sense....it's just the way it is.

Thanks for keeping in touch. I'm going to take the comments off of moderation because I can no longer release them by checking email at school. So.....let's all play nice...ok? *wink*

love and grace,

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

My Etsy Shop

I created a willfulgrace Etsy shop. Right now, I only have a couple of figures of Sparky and Emma in there for sale. But, boxers and jammie pants are coming soon. I promise! In the meantime, check out my little clay figures.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

More to Come...

Wowzers, I've had a bunch going on lately.

I've missed watching LOST two straight Thursday nights in a row because I've been traveling to OKC to attempt to get my OK driver's license. And I'm on my way BACK up there this evening for what will hopefully be my last go-round with the DMV first thing in the morning. It's not the testing that's got me stumped; it's the documentation. I'm vowing right here and now.....to NEVER....EVER....EVER....NEVER....change my name again.....EVER. On the bright side of all this, I've spent the last two Friday afternoons traveling around the City handing out resumes at individual schools. Hopefully, something will come of all this. If not, it won't be for lack of effort.

VERY SOON.....I will be posting pictures of custom-made WILLFUL GRACE jammie pants and
boxers. I also hope to have a paypal button. These will be one-of-a-kind with my personally designed logo affixed.

You know you've gotta have a pair!

love and grace,

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